Hauliers in the UK and Ireland are predicting that a no-deal Brexit is going to cause major problems for the haulage industry and for the general public.
Irish truck driver Joe Droohan told RTE radio’s Morning Ireland that Brexit had arrived early yesterday when he faced a delay of two and a half hours in the British port of Folkstone because of a work to rule by French customs staff.
En route from the UK to France he explained that following British emigration and security checks he then had to go through checks with French customs for the first time in “three to four years”.
“Usually they just ask to look at the documents for the load, but they wanted to see documents for the truck, registration for the truck, permit for the truck and they checked the temperature in the fridge.
“These are delaying tactics which are causing a fierce backlog. Brexit has arrived early. When Brexit comes in it will be twice as bad.”
When he arrived in Calais, Mr Droohan said he saw a lane of trucks, which he clocked at 6.8km long, outside the port which included “a lot of Irish trucks.”
Rob McKenzie of the British Road Haulage Association described Tuesday’s delays as ‘unpleasant.’
“This was all about cutting through the noise, an attempt by the French customs staff to illustrate what it will be like if there’s a hard Brexit on March 29.”
He said there had been customs checks and permit checks on Tuesday, “things that don’t happen now will happen then.”
The actions on Tuesday were both a trade union issue and a Brexit issue he said as French customs staff are demanding more staff and more pay.
“This is a harbinger of what is to come,” he warned.
Mr McKenzie said that the British government’s preparations for Brexit were “shambolic, far too little, too late.”
A recent trial involving 80 trucks had been a farce he said as 10,000 trucks go through the UK port of Dover daily. “How could you possibly make that a useful test?
“We are 17 working days from a potential no deal Brexit which will be very unfortunate indeed for truck drivers facing 20km long queues and for the rest of us who rely on supplies, 95% of which come on trucks.”